Friday, 29 November 2013

Frogged Friday

Frogged Friday doesn't quite have the same ring to it as FO Friday, but sad to say, one of my older projects finally found its way into the frog pond yesterday.

Remember this? No, me neither.
Back in February 2012 (as part of the first Year of Projects), I crocheted this cowl out of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. I was still learning a lot about crochet and knitting back then, and still laboured under the illusion that you could crochet anything just as well as you could knit it, and that crocheting clothing out of heavy weight yarn was a good idea.

It goes to show how successful this project was, that I found it languishing at the bottom of my WIP basket, almost two years after completing it. It has never been worn. I've never once found myself thinking "this is the perfect outfit to wear that chunky grey crochet cowl that strangles me with".

So into the frog pond it went.

I now have a big fat squidgy hank of yarn, just crying out to be turned into a far more wearable hat and gloves set, or something equally delightful. I love this yarn too much to have it sat in a box and never be worn. Suggestions on a postcard for suitable patterns please (aran weight, I have 500 yards)!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

I should have a week off more often

If there's something I've learned this week while I've been off work, it's that I really, really needed a week off work! While the grand plans for finishing off all of my outstanding projects hasn't really happened, I have done a lot already this week. $5 in San Fransisco is finished, and just waiting a daylight photo shoot before I can show you (hopefully to be achieved today). I haven't touched anything else!

The River Thames at Odney

On Monday I took a trip into Maidenhead, as I hoped that Sew Crafty might have the material I needed to make Jamie some new LRP kit. Unfortunately they didn't have what I wanted, which cut my shopping trip short and meant I was over an hour early getting to Odney, where we have one of our residential clubs and where I was booked in to have a deep muscle massage at the Serenity Spa.

I have to say, having an hour long massage at the start of my week off was an excellent idea. My back had been causing me all kinds of trouble as the muscles had all seized up from the long hours hunched over my work laptop. It was incredibly relaxing and worth every penny.

My original plan for fitting in all the crafting was to do it in the evenings while we watched TV. Unfortunately, another minor purchase got in the way of that...

Diablo 2 was my favourite PC game for a long time, and I have been eagerly waiting to get my hands on its sequel ever since it was first announced. We have the console version so that Jamie and I can play together. We are having so much fun playing it, that we've not really watched any TV at all this week so far! And of course, I can't knit and play at the same time.

I am hopeful that my plan for the rest of the day (blitzing the house in preparation for Christmas decorating on Sunday) will give me the clean space I need to get my shawls on the blocking board, so at least I will have something to show for my week off besides a clean house and a completed game!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Year of Projects 3: 24th November update

The trouble with long dark winter evenings is that there's never a good time during the week to take photos. Hopefully this week coming I won't have that problem, as I have a week off work and intend to use it wisely. I have 9 different WIPs outstanding at the moment, most of which are on my list, and they need to get sorted out!

1. $5 in San Fransisco. Good grief, this has been waiting the last five or six rounds on the second sleeve for about a month. Half an hour at most and this jumper will be finished. I need to just do it.

2. Obnoxious Socks. Like the jumper, these have languished untouched for a few weeks now. I really would like to finish them before the end of the year, but I may not get around to them this week.

3. Baby Blanket. Not much work needed on this now, but as it's not required till after Christmas it may go into a mini hibernation until then!

4. Esiotrot. All I need to do is stuff and sew on a few limbs and this will be done. A Priority for this week as it's for Christmas.

5. Flash of Light. Just needs to be blocked! Should have plenty of time to get the blocking boards out this week and do some catching up.

6. Wingspan. Also in the blocking queue.

7. Peerie Flooers. It has been almost a year since I finished knitting this hat. I really ought to get around to weaving in those ends and blocking it!

8. Dave. Another toy that needs sewing together. This one has been sitting around in a half finished state for over a year.

9. Starlight. I did briefly entertain hopes that this could be finished in time for my work Christmas party this year. I think possibly next year's party is a more realistic goal!

So, lots to do this week, in addition to all my other plans. Lets hope I actually manage to do some of it!

Monday, 18 November 2013

A productive and restful weekend.

I had the house to myself over the weekend. Things have been so hectic at work lately, I was looking forward to a whole weekend of relaxing and crafting and doing whatever I wanted. It was wonderful. It is always surprising to me just how much you can accomplish when you are not really thinking about what you are trying to achieve; when I reflected back on the weekend after my husband came home, the list of things I did was actually quite impressive!

I read three books (Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and The Pearls of Lutra). I watched most of Children in Need (my favourite part being the Strictly special, although I did get a little bit excited about McBusted), two international rugby games, this week's Strictly Come Dancing, several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and one and a half films (Life of Pi, and half of Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End). I spent several hours wandering around town and acquired new socks (I know, I know, I ought to be knitting them all. But I needed new socks now), new nail varnish and some new clothes. I utterly failed to buy fabric for a LARP costume I am meant to be making for Jamie. I bought two pairs of curtains and successfully hung them all by myself (although, now they are up, I am wondering if perhaps I ought to have ironed them first!). And I did some knitting.

Tomato Hat

One of my friends in work has a four year old daughter, who declared the other week that she absolutely had to have a hat which looked like a tomato. What's a knitter to do?! I whipped this up on Saturday evening; it was a nice quick easy knit and the end result is fab. I am eagerly awaiting the verdict - I understand four year olds can be quite harsh critics...

On Sunday, I decided that it was now cold enough for me to knit myself a pair of gloves. Back in April, I lost the gloves I made to match my Free Rapunzel hat. I've had the yarn to knit the replacements in my stash for some time, but just hadn't got around to it. A short time figuring out how I'd made them the first time around, and I had cast on and flew through the pair.

Sadly, the replacement pair do not match the hat for colour, as the hat is brown and these new gloves are purple. Not the end of the world though, as purple happens to be a favourite colour of mine! I've made these longer than the original, and fixed the placing of the cables that always annoyed me with the first pair. I also used a stretchy bind off this time, which I hadn't done on the previous pairs of mitts I've made from this pattern.

I stayed up later than I should have done last night in order to finish them, but was rewarded with a lovely warm squishy pair of gloves to wear to work today. I have enough yarn left over to make another hat, and for the moment I am thinking of knitting this one as I do love chunky cables and this Debbie Bliss Cashmerino looks fab in cables. It should knit up nice and quickly too. Who knows, I might have that done by the end of the week!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Year of Projects 3: 12th November update

Things sure have been quite in my corner of the internet of late. I wish I could say the same for the rest of my life! Work has been crazy busy, and while I intended to write this post at the weekend I was just too damn tired to do anything apart from sit on my sofa and read. I've read the whole of The Southern Vampire Mysteries in the last week. I found if you started the next book right after finishing the previous one they knit together so well it's like you're reading one giant book instead of ten individual novels!

Not to say I haven't been making anything. Just not things off my list. I ought to be frantically making things for the kids for Christmas, but I haven't touched my planned Christmas projects in weeks months. Mostly in the past week I have been knitting tiny Innocent hats, because they don't require any brainpower whatsoever.

I did successfully finish the second baby blanket though, and on Friday I was able to give both finished blankets to their respective new parents.

Baby Blanket Number One

Anna's blanket was oohed and aahed over by my entire department. I'd made a tag to attach to it, based on the free downloads available at Eskimimi Makes. I took her hand-crocheted care instructions label and attached it to one of my own images, of my own creations. I added my blog address to the photo side and hey presto, professional looking tags with full care instructions, complete with a side order of free advertising for my blog. 

Baby Blanket Number Two

Dan's blanket was a lot less complicated, as I'd only started it to have something to crochet in the car on the way to the wedding last month. But I really like how it turned out, in simple neutral shades of brown, beige and cream. Like all granny squares. it came off the hook a little squiffy, so I pinned it out with my blocking wires and gave it a good steam to make it lie straight.

Baby blanket number three is progressing nicely, I only have a few more squares to do. But it's been a bit neglected this last couple of weeks. Still, baby three is not due till early February, so I have plenty of time!

I have also been reminded today about a promise I made to knit a hat that looks like a tomato, for my friend's four year old daughter. I don't have the yarn I need for that at the moment, so I will have to go shopping. Who knows what else might fall in my basket while I am there....

Saturday, 2 November 2013

In absentia

Well, life has certainly got in the way of crafting and blogging of late. Work has been crazy busy, which leads to late finishes and being far too tired to knit or crochet. I think the most creative I've been in the evenings of late has been colouring in a shoe for a retirement party next week!

Even my weekends are not safe. I had been quite looking forward to a free weekend; time to block Wingspan and Dragonfly Wings, to finish the last few rounds of the sleeve on $5 in San Fransisco and to finish baby blanket number three. Instead, this is what I have been up to today:

I've been working all day! Even tomorrow is not looking safe, as I will most likely have to do more work tomorrow morning. My house looks like a bombsite because it's been so long since I did any housework. It's all very annoying.

I do have some knitting to share though! Innocent were in the office yesterday promoting the Big Knit. They were giving away cute little kits containing 25g balls of Stylecraft Special DK in red, green and yellow, complete with a tiny pair of children's 4mm needles. They had expert knitters on hand to teach people how to knit, but I just took a kit back to my desk and knocked a hat up while I was waiting for things to happen in the system.

It earned me the respect and envy of my colleagues, many of whom had struggled with casting on, or had managed only a few rows. I'm not sure how my little hat is going to get to Innocent, I think they might be popping back next week to collect any finished ones. I'll make sure to ask the lady who organised it when I am back in the office. I was a bit too busy to remember to ask on Friday!

I don't think I will use the kit to make any more hats, the red and yellow yarn will be a welcome addition to the stash I have put aside for the Game of Thrones blanket as they are the same yarn and shade as the stuff I have already bought!
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